First trimester pregnancy: What to expect
First trimester pregnancy: What to expect
The first trimester of pregnancy is marked by an invisible — yet amazing — transformation. And it happens quickly. Hormones trigger your body to begin nourishing the baby even before tests and a physical exam can confirm the pregnancy. Knowing what physical and emotional changes to expect during the first trimester can help you face the months ahead with confidence.
First trimester pregnancy: Your body
Consider common physical changes during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Bouts of nausea
To help relieve nausea, eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Choose foods that are low in fat and easy to digest. It's also helpful to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse. Try drinking ginger ale. For some women, motion sickness bands are helpful. For others, alternative therapies such as acupuncture or hypnosis offer relief. If you're considering an alternative therapy, get the OK from your health care provider first.
Contact your health care provider if the nausea is severe, you're passing only a small amount of urine or it's dark in color, you can't keep down liquids, you feel dizzy or faint when standing up, your heart is racing, or you vomit blood.
Tender, swollen breasts
Food aversions or cravings
Seek prompt care if the dizziness is severe and occurs with abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding. This could indicate an ectopic pregnancy — a condition in which the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus. To prevent life-threatening complications, the ectopic tissue must be removed.
Heartburn and constipation
First trimester pregnancy: Your emotions
Pregnancy might leave you feeling delighted, anxious, exhilarated and exhausted — sometimes all at once. Even if you're thrilled about being pregnant, a new baby adds emotional stress to your life.
It's natural to worry about your baby's health, your adjustment to motherhood and the financial demands of raising a child. You might wonder how the baby will affect your relationship with your partner or what type of parent you'll be. If you're working, you might worry about your productivity on the job and how to balance the competing demands of family and career.
You might also experience misgivings and bouts of weepiness or mood swings. To cope with these emotions, remind yourself that what you're feeling is normal. Take good care of yourself, and look to your partner and other loved ones for understanding and encouragement. If the mood changes become severe or intense, consult your health care provider for additional support.
Your relationship with your partner
Becoming a mother takes time away from other roles and relationships. You might struggle to retain your psychological identity as a partner and lover — but good communication can help you keep intimacy alive.
Appointments with your health care provider
Whether you choose a family physician, obstetrician, nurse-midwife or other pregnancy specialist, your health care provider will treat, educate and reassure you throughout your pregnancy. He or she is there to help you celebrate the miracle of birth.
Your first visit will focus mainly on assessing your overall health, identifying any risk factors and determining your baby's gestational age. Your health care provider will ask detailed questions about your health history. Be honest. The answers you provide will help you and your baby receive the best care. If you're uncomfortable discussing your health history in front of your partner, schedule a private consultation.
Also expect to learn about first trimester screening for chromosomal abnormalities.
After the first visit, you'll probably be asked to schedule checkups every four to six weeks. During these appointments, raise any concerns or fears you might have about pregnancy, childbirth or life with a newborn. Remember, no question is silly or unimportant — and the answers can help you take the best care of yourself and your baby.
Last Updated: 2011-06-18
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